Color Thesaurus Entry: Purple


Real World Comparisons

Light:

Aster
Hydrangea
Lilac
Kale
Turnip skin
Mulberry
$5000 Poker chip
Gasoline
Blueberry Cheesecake

Medium:

Orchids
Crocus
Heather
Red onion
Red Cabbage
Beets
Barney the dinosaur
Grimmace (McDonalds)
Iris
Purple Heart medal
Amethyst
Jacaranda Trees

Dark:

Concord Grapes
Blueberries
Grape Jello
Clematis
Eggplant
Bruises
Grape jelly
Klingon Blood
Plums
Sea Urchins
Passion fruit
Acai berry
Grape Kool-aid
Wine

Shades of Purple:

Mauve, lilac, heliotrope, violet, lavender, concord, plum, amaranthine

Make every detail count

Colors are powerful descriptors, not fillers. Make sure that if you use a comparison or contrast to highlight a color, you choose the right one. Look at the setting and atmosphere you are working to create, then draw from the viewpoint character or narrator's history, education and past experiences to find the right fit.

A poor example:

Jen sank to the sandy floor of the vineyard with a contented sigh. Great purple clumps hung heavy from the branches, their violet vibrance calling her, but she'd had enough. Her hands were stained indigo and her face was sticky with concord goodness. She gave her heliotrope fingers a final lick and closed her eyes to rest.

What's wrong with this example?

The descriptions are too strong for this passage. The over-described colors overpower the simple picture of a grape-stuffed girl in a vineyard. This passage gives new meaning to the phrase "purple prose".

A strong example:

Millie tied the cords on the princess's cloak and stepped back to look her over. Her lilac dress was without blemish or wrinkle, just brushing the floor. She was too young for much jewelry, so Millie had adorned her hair with pale lavender orchids. The violet ribbon at her throat was the same shade as her velvet cloak--the royal cloak of the Humphrey family. Millie gave a crisp nod. The princess may be young yet, but there would be no doubting she was heir to the throne.

Why is this example better?

The color in this passage is symbolic--symbolic of something flamboyant and extravagant. As such, the descriptions should match. The color should be emphasized in such a passage.

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Pub

Sight

Booths, high tables and stools, long bar, hanging glass racks, mirror behind the bar, hundreds of different alcohol bottles, stools, kick plate along bar, straws, sprayers, TVs, beer/wine/highball/martini glasses, beer on tap, shot glasses, bowls of peanuts/pretzels, cut limes/lemons and orange, dirty glasses, spills on the bar & floor, leather seats, waitresses dressed in tight clothes, round trays, rags, nachos, wings, dry ribs, poppers, calamari, fries, club sandwiches, fish and chips and other pub food, kitchen, bartenders, neon beer signs, bathrooms, cherries, blenders, ice, napkins, sports memorabilia, menus, highball list, dirty plates, forks, knives, spoons, coffee cups, creamers, sugar, pool or snooker tables, VLTs, sports banners for local teams, pay phone, cigarette machine, cash registers, computers, speakers, drunk people stumbling or hanging all over people, people dancing/swaying, low lighting, tall glasses, beer foam, cigarette smoke (in pubs with no smoking ban), darts/dart boards, guest live bands on weekends, groups of people huddled around tables and along the bar counter, purses & coats slung over the back of worn chairs, decor & menu often themed (sports, Irish or English style pubs, Biker, country & western or rock and roll)

Sounds

music, talking, laughing, cheering, swearing, yelling, whistling, TVs, calling out orders, glasses clinking, cutlery scraping, thump of glass mugs onto tabletop, pool balls hitting one another, dings from the VLTs, the pressurized rush of a beer tap, coffee pot gurgling, inebriated people talking too loud/slurring their words, receipts spitting out of the machine, the think of cigarettes falling into the vending machine tray, doors opening and closing, chairs scraping, arguments

Smells

Beer, food cooking, grease, spices, char, sweat, perfume, aftershave, cigarette smell clinging to people's clothing, bad breath, beer breath, vomit, dirty money

Tastes

Beer, pop, alcohols (rum, vodka, liqueurs, whisky, gin, etc), coffee, pub food (nachos, salsa, hot wings, teriyaki wings, dry ribs, poppers, tempura, calamari, pizza, fish and chips, burgers, etc), water, orange juice, wine, gum, mints

Touch

Drunk people (bumping, groping, brushing, stumbling), taking hold of the back of a chair or stool and dragging it to a table, fingers around a glass of beer covered in condensation, wiping finders/mouth with a dry napkin, sticky hot sauce on fingers, spilling beer on self, smacking an empty shot glass onto a table, the burn of pure alcohol in the throat, sweet cocktails, licking sugar off a rimmed glass, biting into a decorative cherry, twirling a olive spear from a martini glass, shuffling over on a bench or booth seat to make room for another person, the pressure of a full bladder, touching up make up & hair in a mirror, an unsteady walk, missing stairs and stumbling, touching people on the arm, looping an arm around another's waist or shoulders, hugging, kissing, touching some one's hair, pushing hair off the shoulder or out of the face, ripping napkins, fiddling with coasters or sugar packets, wiping up spilled drinks with napkins, clinking glasses together in a toast, blowing steam from hot food or coffee, sipping cold liquid, ice bumping the lips in a drink

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

After a slight hesitation, I squeezed myself onto the only vacant seat at the bar--a stool with a torn leather seat. Smoke permeated the room, forcing me to adopt a squint as I kept the entrance in view. TVs blared overhead and truckers slouched to either side of me, the collection of empty shot glasses and beer mugs in front them suggesting career drinkers. I set my purse on the worn bar and tried to flag down a bartender, accidentially dragging my sleeve through a spill of beer. Damn it! I glared at the door, ready to leave as soon as Marcie showed up. Only my sister would pick a place like this.

Example 2:

I typed the order into the computer for table twelve and then collected the drinks waiting by my tray at the bar. Behind me, the guy who'd come in just after the hockey game with his buddies was winding up, his voice growing steadily louder as he switched from highballs to shots. Every night we usually got at least one, and tonight he sat in my section. Hopefully he'd leave on his own before the slurry come-ons and groping started, or I'd have to get the bartender to toss him out.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The woman with the platinum blonde hair and tight mini skirt sauntered up to the bar, eyeing the regulars like an aging lioness hungry for a meal.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Once through the door, I fought my way through a gauntlet of rough bodies, stale beer breath and sport-related war paint. Halfway to the back a collective shout went up, and someone's drink doused the back of my blouse. Why did I ever agree to meet Mac here on the night of the Grey Cup?

Shape Entry: Circular/Sphere

Natural:
Pupils
Animal eyes/fish eyes
Mushroom caps
Poplar leaves
Peppercorns
The "eye" of a flower
Peas
Butterfly markings
Ladybug spots
River pebbles
Pearls
Fish eggs
Frog eggs
Planets
Moons
Spots on a faun/leopard
Oranges
Grapes
Blueberries
Gooseberries
Cranberries
Dew drops on a leaf, beads of moisture
The sun
Craters
Rain drops on the sidewalk
Spider's egg sacks
Beads of sweat
Lentils
Ripples on water from a dropped pebble
Dandelion seed head
Seedless watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon
Air bubbles

Man-made:

Saucers
Plates
Polka dots
Beads
Jewels
Basketball, baseballs, golf balls, tennis ball, ping pong etc.
Coins
Metal nuts
Poker chips
Bingo chips
Game pieces
Eyeglass lenses
Headlights
Frisbees
Hula hoops
Tires
Steering wheels
Snow balls
M&M's or Smarties
Jawbreakers
Peppermints
Cd's
Zeros and the letter 'O'
Jelly roll
Fishbowl
Geode
Sushi
Pie
Manhole covers
Traffic circles
Traffic lights
Marbles
Portholes
World globes
Snow globe
Compass
Water bottle lids
Crop circles
Tapioca
Cut logs
Pepperoni/salami slice

Synonyms:

Sphere, globe, circular, ring, round, loop, halo, band, loop, orb, orbital, ball, pellet, disc

Describing a shape is best done in as few words as possible. Think of the shape as a camera snap shot--you want to capture the gist of what you mean as soon as possible so you can get on with other related (and more important) detail, and the action happening in the scene

A weak example:

The zit on his chin was as greasy and round as a slice of salami.

What's wrong with this example?

This description's pretty good nasty-wise, but the size of the comparison is all off. We get the image of a massive zit so comical that it might spoil the description unless humor is intended.

A strong example:

The last thing I expected at the wake was to see my estranged cousin Sarah working the crowd, playing the part of the heartbroken granddaughter. When I noticed the twin jade globes dangling from her ears, catching the light, my hand twitched with the urge to slap her. Not only had she found Nana's spare key, she'd gotten into her antique jewelry collection as well.

Why does this work?

This works because the shape and size is accurate enough to give the reader an image, but doesn't detract from the emotion tension of the scene.

Time to Leave Your Critique Group?

In past posts, we've looked at the right time to join a critique group, how to evaluate feedback and accept criticism. Sometimes though, a moment comes where a writer begins to question the effectiveness of a group. If things aren't working like they used to it's easy to get trapped in Limbo. Should you stay and tough it out? If you leave, how do you do it? No one wants to cause hurt feelings or make others feel like they are 'no longer good enough.'

Let's look at the common reasons to part ways.

--Activity level too high

Sometimes a group morphs into a hyperactive critiquing machine that leaves you with precious little time to breathe, much less write. If too much of your writing time is spent on other people's novels, then it's time to scale back or risk burn out.

Talk to the group and voice your concerns--you might not be the only one struggling with the load. If others feel as you do, work out a pace that suits everyone. And if you're alone on this, the good news is it should be relatively easy for you to part ways. Most writers are very understanding of time constraints and putting your own writing first.

--Activity level too low

Some groups start out strong and energetic only to slow to a crawl once critiques start to roll in, pointing out just how much work needs to be done on a novel. People get depressed, they stop putting up chapters for review and they stop critiquing. This can be very frustrating for two reasons: as a reader, you become invested in the other stories and want to know what happens next. As a critiquer, you are giving up your time to help and it's frustrating when it is not reciprocated.

If you're the one shutting down, then try to pull yourself out of your funk and remember you made a commitment to the other members. Hold up your end of things. If you can't, be honest about what's happening, apologize and bow out of the group.

If you're the one submitting and critiquing, and others are not, then bring it up to see what's happening. Is RL (Real Life) getting in the way? This happens. People lose their jobs, become ill or find all their free time sucked away when problems arise. Be understanding. Is it the depression issue? Talk about it and see if you can work through it together. Sometimes people need encouragement and another writer to understand. If you can get the group on track, great! If you can't, politely move on.

If several critters are not critiquing your work and none of the scenarios above fit...

It might be your writing. Again, this happens--sometimes a plot or character is like a lemon zester to the brain. Be a professional and recognize that not all writers will connect with your work. It isn't bad or wrong and it doesn't mean you should toss your MS off a bridge.

Find out what's bothering critters and challenge yourself on their comments. If three people all dislike your MC, then there might be something there. If you agree, the best thing you can do is pull your book from the critique process and work on it, while still remaining a member of the group and critiquing. These people may have just saved you a lot of grief, and when you work out the kinks, resubmit it to them.

If you disagree with their assessments, then this group is likely incompatible and you should acknowledge the 'not for everyone' scenario and leave on good terms, wishing the others well.

--Negativity

Sometimes groups or certain members become bogged down with the weight of writing woes: constant rejections, writer's block and depression/negativity. Prolific members once eager to learn and pass on their own knowledge stop submitting, stop critiquing or put out half-hearted efforts. They may become a bundle of excuses, anger and frustration, with nothing good to say about the industry or the writer's path. This is not a good place to be.

Writing is hard. Sticking it out despite all the rejections and roadblocks is even harder. If your crit group vibe is sending out serious negativity, it's time to get out. If you don't, it's very possible you will succumb to it.

In this case, tell the truth...sort of. Acknowledge that the atmosphere has changed. Suggest a break from the group might do everyone some good. And it might. I've seen people take breaks, shake off their funk and come back fighting. I've also seen people stop writing and never come back into it. Each of us has to find our own way.

--Growth

Some groups, the best groups, continually evolve. As we critique and receive feedback, we grow and become stronger writers. But sometimes the other members in the group don't match our individual growth rate...then what do we do?

First of all, never think you're too good for the crit group. You can always learn something from any individual, no matter what level of writer they are. However, there are cases where some writers grow by leaps and bounds while others take a slower, more steady pace to develop writing skills. If the feedback from your group seems too advanced, leaving your head swimming with where to start as far as applying suggestions, this group might not be the right fit at this time. Profound, in depth feedback is of no use if you don't know where to go with it.

Likewise, if you find yourself wanting feedback on your theme or character arc (and you specifically request critiques focus on this) but your fellow members aren't sure what you mean, you might want to find critique partners who can help you in these areas. This doesn't necessarily mean leaving the group. If you have a good support system, suggest opening the group to include more members who can meet a wider range of critique needs.

--Focus

As writers grow, we often try new genres or age groups. Sometimes, we think we're all about Women's Romance only to discover we're really YA writers, or we try out picture books only to settle on Mid Grade as our focus. This is a natural occurrence, and if you find yourself writing mid grades while everyone else in the group is spinning picture books, then ask youself if the group is still meeting your needs. Some writers can translate easily--Adult Fantasy writers might make great YA fantasy critiquers. People who write MG may crit YA or Chapter Books just fine. But sometimes you end up writing Sci-fi and guess what? No one in your group reads or even likes Sci-fi. But they like you, so they crit your work anyway.

Sure, these crits are helpful, but you really need feedback from those in your chosen genre. They know the market, what needs you must meet and what boundaries you can push. They can help you with specifics in ways that someone unfamiliar with the genre cannot.

If you're getting great general feedback, you might want to keep the group but find an additional partner who writes what you do to bounce around those specifics. Or, you might want to move onto a group that matches your focus completely. If you leave, explain your reasons, thank everyone for all that they taught you, and move forward.

--Style

All writers have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to craft. The best groups are ones where each member brings something different to the table: maybe one of you is the line edit queen, another can create breathtaking description and someone else challenges all the members to go all the way when it comes to getting into the character's head and emotions. But what if it turns out everyone in the group only line edits? Sure, your manuscript will be 100% structurally correct. Too bad it won't do you any good in the slush pile if your characters are cliche or your plot has more holes than a hobo's underwear.

Diversity is the lifeblood of a great critique group. If everyone has the same strength and their critiques are singularly focused on this area there's very little room to grow. Discuss expanding the membership to bring in other writers with different skills and viewpoints. If there is no appetite for change, then politely disengage and move to a new group where diversity is embraced.

--If You Do Leave...

...always do so with grace. Thank the other members for helping you, avoid negative comments and move on swiftly. The right fit is out there!

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Meadow

Sight

Long grass seeded with wildflowers, sunlight, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, dry leaves trapped in the grass, tall trees laden with leaves hemming the clearing, birds, mushrooms, wild strawberry plants, ants, beetles, spiders, mice, moss, broken branches at the edge, gopher holes, bushes, the wind waving heavy pine trees and shuffling through leaves, squirrels leaping from branch to branch along the treeline, leaves twirling and drifting to the ground, ladybugs

Sounds

Leaves rustling/clattering, wind shushing, small critters scampering through the grass, crickets, water tricking over stones and roots from a nearby creek, the hum of bees and dragonflies, the whine of flies and mosquitoes, silence, birds trilling/cawing/squawking, squirrels or chipmunks chittering, grass crunching underfoot, the wind ruffling the grass

Smells

Growing grass, warm earth and sunlight, pollen, sweet flowers & berries, clean air, dew

Tastes

Chewing on a stalk of sweet grass, picnic food brought to the area (sandwiches, wine, grapes, cheese, bread, cold cuts, chicken, other fruit, crackers, water etc), wild strawberries from the field, raspberries/blueberries/Saskatoon or gooseberries collected at the edge

Touch

Warm sun on the face, breeze ruffling clothes and brushing through hair and over skin, warm earth beneath you, soft grass, scratchy dead leaves or grass close to the ground, the sting of a bee or bite of an insect, grass sliding against legs as you walk, twigs/dead leaves and grass giving way beneath your tread, a change in temperature on skin as clouds pass over the sun

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Claire waited between the prickly skirts of two evergreens, rubbing her arms and jumping at the slightest movement. She dared not set foot out in the open; high above, the bloated moon scoured the low grass like a blind witch's eye. The note that had summoned her here clearly outlined what would happen if she was seen or followed.

Example 2:

I lay back in the soft, sweet-smelling grass, lacing my fingers behind my head. Clouds gathered in the sapphire sky above, the slow moving swirls shifting into a kindly, weathered face then stretching to become a lazing pride of lions. I smiled like a child being read a bedtime story, tucked under a blanket of warm sunlight.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The butterfly hovered over the cluster of white daisies, it's wings shimmering like coins in the sun.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Fingers of air raked through the plush meadow grasses, stirring up the scent of wild strawberry and goldenrod.

CTS Entry: Bumpy

Natural:
Rash
Turtle shell
Blisters
Pebbly beach
Shrimp shells
Pumpkins
Noses
Scars
Veins
Potato/Yam
Squash
Carrots
Stones
Burls, tree fungus
Tree bark
Raspberries
Gourds
Lemon, grapefruit, palmetto or orange peel
Toads
Pineapples
Knuckles & knees
Sea shells
Barnacles
Lizards/crocodiles/alligators
Cauliflower
Coral
Corn cob
Raisins, prunes
Cucumber
Goose bumps
Spine
Warts
Scabs
Callouses

Man-made:

Bubble wrap
Speed bumps
Dirt roads
Bath mat
Braids
Pottery
Jewelry
Old seat cushions
Roller coaster ride
Lego
Egg cartons
Coarse yarn
Diapers
Braille
Tire treads
Old Pillows
Warped & scarred tables/benches/picnic tables
Baskets
Corrugated metal
Pot holes
Buttons on a phone
Crusty bread or pizza crust
Castle walls
Runway landing
Cave or tunnels
Cottage cheese
Knots


Synonyms:

bumpy, lumpy, knobby, uneven, rough, irregular, clumpy, coarse, pebbly, pocked, nubby, chunky, gnarled, hilly, scabby


Describing texture in a story creates intimacy between reader and character, and can even cause an emotional trigger for both. To anchor the reader in the scene, make sure comparisons and contrasts are clear and relatable, and within the scope of the narrator's life knowledge and experience.

A weak example:

I rooted through the cardboard barrel, sorting through the pumpkins. A squat one with a streak of green on one side caught my eye and I hoisted it up. This would make a perfect first jack-o-lantern for Sarah. I ran my hand over the smooth orange ridges, brushing away dust. Strange how nature could make something be both smooth and bumpy at the same time.

What's wrong with this example?

This one's tricky, because there's good description that creates recognition--as the character experiences the bumpy and smooth texture, so does the reader. However, while relating to the texture is the goal, we don't want to go so far that the reader ends up thinking about this oddity in nature and how it relates to the cosmos instead of what the character is experiencing (picking out a first pumpkin for his daughter to carve).

A strong example:

I held tight to the plastic handle above the cracked side window, trying to keep some part of me unbruised as Raymond's pickup bounced over driveway's bumper crop of ruts and potholes.

Why does this example work?

This one creates instant recognition--we've all travelled bumpy roads--without derailing the story.

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Deserted Island

Sight

water, whitecaps, surf retreating and encroaching, palm trees, coconuts, sea oats, driftwood, wreckage, seashells, sand, rocks, tide pools, fish, seaweed, washed-up jellyfish, seagulls, sandpipers, crabs, gnats, mosquitoes, forest with dense undergrowth, inland rivers and ponds, waterfalls, ivy, tropical fruits, coconuts hanging in trees/lying in the sand/washing up on the beach, plastic and litter washing up along the shoreline, sea onions, dried palm fronds, ferns, sand, shells, snakes, spiders/spiderwebs, pineapple bushes, bats, lizards, tropical flowers, bees, small animals, vines

Sounds

surf washing in and out, crunch of sand beneath feet, waves crashing, wind whipping, birds chirping/calling/flapping wings, insects buzzing, drip of water from wet clothing, palm fronds blowing, coconuts hitting the ground, splash of jumping fish, rustle of creatures in the underbrush, gurgle of streams or rivers, labored breath, palm fronds rustling/shushing, the snap of a twig, the clatter & thump as a overripe coconut falls from a high perch

Smells

salty brine, rain, sweat, heat, cooking fire, fish cooking, kelp, rotting wood, fresh river water, coconut, tropical fruit, seaweed, body odor, dead fish washing up on shore, sweet tropical flowers

Tastes

sweat, fresh water, salt, food roasted on sticks over a fire, fish, crab, oysters, clams, mussels, seaweed, rainwater, coconut, fruits, nuts, sand

Touch

chafe of wet clothing, water dripping into eyes, wet hair sticking to neck, gritty sand against the skin, burning heat from the sun, prickly sunburn, driving rain, feet sinking into the sand, surf beating against shins and washing over feet, shadows of clouds falling over you, cooling breeze, wind blowing sand into your eyes, hot gusts of wind, scaly fish, pinch of crab claws, hairy coconut husk, rough palm tree bark, slimy shellfish, heat from cooking fire, sharp rock underfoot, cuts, bruises, stiffness from sleeping rough, exhaustion, waves beating at you, fronds, ferns and branches slapping at your face, torso and legs, raw hands and feet pads from scaling trees, dirt under nails, grit in eyes

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

A flash of color caught my eye in a clump of seaweed stranded along the tide line. I nudged the rotting strands with my foot and gasped, homesickness squeezing my chest. A capped plastic bottle missing half its label was caught in the slime, an inch of brown liquid caught inside. Coke.

Example 2:

Under the lonely, diamond-bright stars, I shifted the palm fronds blanketing me, covering my legs from the relentless sand flies and mosquitoes. I had climbed mountains, survived the barren Artic ice fields and lived off the Canadian hinterland. My body is conditioned to hardship, I told myself. I would make it through this.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Seashells poked through my sandy bed like a nail-studded mattress. I shifted, grinding my teeth, determined to make a better refuge as soon as the sun rose tomorrow.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Sun glittered on the shifting waves as far as Eamon could see, an unsurpassable liquid field keeping him from home.

CST Entry: Yellow





Real World Comparisons

Light:

Margarine
Butter
Cooking oil/olive oil
Ripe honeydew melon
Spaghetti squash
Pasta noodles
Buttered popcorn
Baby chicks
Sunlight
onions
Under ripe corn
Pus
Sand
Elephant tusks (ivory)
Vanilla pudding

Medium:

Bananas
Lemons
The sun
Buttercups, dandelions, black-eyed Susan, daffodils, sunflowers, forsythia
Canola fields
Passing lane
Canaries
Big Bird
Mustard
Rubber chicken
Phone book
Corn
Yield signs
Fireman clothing
McDonald's arches
Egg yolk

Dark:

Autumn leaves
Old bruises
Document envelopes
honey
Used cooling oil
Citrine
Bile
Cat's eyes
School bus
Dijon mustard
Jaundice
Amber
Saffron
Topaz
Urine
Curry
Pitch/sap
Pollen
The pages of an old book

Shades of Yellow:

Ochre, blond, buff, cream, ivory, tawny, sandy, honey-toned, cream

Make every detail count

Colors are powerful descriptors, not fillers. Make sure that if you use a comparison or contrast to highlight a color, you choose the right one. Look at the setting and atmosphere you are working to create, then draw from the viewpoint character or narrator's history, education and past experiences to find the right fit.

A poor example:

Aunt Edna flitted through the cluster of middle-aged bachelors, her throaty laughter drawing every eye as much as her flimsy bumblebee yellow sundress.

What's wrong with this example?

The description is compromised by using the comparison 'bumblebee'. The reader immediately associates it to a black and yellow striped image, not bright yellow.

A strong example:

After seven days at sea, the cloud cover finally broke. Shafts of honeyed light spilled down, gleaming against the waves, bringing us hope that the storm was finally over.

Why is this example better?

Honey is a term we associate with health, warmth and comfort. Pairing it as a descriptor for the both color and a change in weather amplifies the feelings of the characters and leaves the scene on a high note.

A Beautiful Place

This past weekend I was in Banff National Park, located here in Alberta. Talk about gorgeous scenery. I just had to share some photos of the Canadian Rockies.











Have a great week!

Waiting to Score Winner!


You know how every once in a while, something happens that makes you laugh out loud? Well that just happened to me when I assigned numbers to everyone who entered and then used an online number generator to choose a winner.

Now according to Google Analytics, we have Musers all over the globe. Austrailia, Singapore, the USA, the UK, Iraq, Canada, you name it. I couldn't wait to see where Waiting to Score would go.

So here's the screenshot from the Random generator I used:

Twenty-one was the winning number. I went to see who's name matched the number, and well...here's a scan of the part of my list (you might have to click on it to see it better):

As you can see, Brown-eyed Girl was the winner! So what's so funny about that?

Well this book could have travelled anywhere in the world. In fact, I figured it quite likely the book would go to someone in the United States, as I know many of the entries came from there.

Instead, it goes to Brown-eyed Girl, who is not only a Canadian...but my neighbor! She lives just down the street, like three houses away. Isn't that crazy?


Instead of popping it in the mail, she got a personal delivery. Like I said, you had to see it to believe it.

Congrats, Brown-Eyed Girl
and thanks to all who entered!

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Casino

Sight

flashing lights, domed cameras in ceiling, mirrors, slot machines, stools, buckets of coins, card tables (blackjack, poker, baccarat), chairs, cards, chips, roulette wheels, craps tables, dice, TV monitors, dealers, players, waiters/waitresses, drinks, food, pattern carpets, stools, change sellers, glassed in cash out counter, security people, half empty beer cups, bar area, flashy posters and glitzy artwork, TV screens, drunk people, cash out tickets, roulette wheel, people wearing sunglasses, tourists, luxury prizes (cars, motor bikes, etc) on display, people handing out coupons for buffets and shows, bling

Sounds

Swish of automatic doors, crank of slot machine arms, clink of coins falling into machines, alarms announcing winners, people laughing/talking/placing orders with servers/cashing in chips/rejoicing/lamenting, chips rattling in plastic buckets, cards being shuffled/dealt, poker players fidgeting with chips, players placing bids, chatter over walkie-talkies, clack of roulette wheel, tumble of dice, squeak of stools, quiet murmur of TV monitors, tinkle of ice in glasses, music or live singing filtering in from another room

Smells

cigarette/cigar smoke, felt, perfume, cologne, aftershave, sweat, food smells, money, metal coins

Tastes

water, soda, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, mints, cigarettes, sandwiches, hamburgers, nachos, wings, fries,

Touch

Soft carpet underfoot, cool air-conditioned air, padded stools and chairs, solid feel of wooden chair rungs, slick cards, plastic chips, felt tabletops, wooden table rims, warm dice, metal slot machine arms, trickle of sweat, too-warm clothing, sunglasses sliding down nose, bustle of crowd, stepping in beer spills, sticky slot machines, cold coins, sleeve dragging on felt as you reach for your coins, rolling a coin across the finger tops, dice rattling in palm, rubbing sweaty hands on pant leg, cold drink against lips, blowing on the dice for luck

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Light-headed, I closed my eyes, my chin dropping to my chest. I was in so deep now--not only was my tip money gone, so was the money I'd taken out earlier for groceries. I reached for the handle and took a breath. Please, God...I need this.

Example 2:

I dealt my cards, trying to keep disdain from my face. Every night losers wearing too much cologne would sit at my table, all puffed up with the belief that their pathetic Internet gambling forays had turned them into big league players. By the end of the night they all looked the same...stooped shoulders, broody eyes and empty pockets.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The dealer smiled as she took my stake, her hand sweeping over my chips like the hungry, inevitable tide.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

I hated working the penny slot section. Because the payout was so low, the odds of winning were higher. At least ten times a night I'd become an epileptic at a light show concert, my vision reduced to stuttering light bursts that send me grabbing onto something until the flashes subsided.

50,000 HITS!


WOW. I'll say it again...WOW!!!

It's been a little over a year and here we are at 50K. Hard to believe, isn't it? Thank you for your continued visits, comments and linking! We're glad for all the time you spend here at The Bookshelf Muse, and that you find our Thesaurus Collection and ramblings on writing useful.

I wanted to do something special for this big milestone, and as luck would have it, I recently attended my VERY FIRST BOOK SIGNING for a very good writer friend of mine, Janet MacLeod. She is a Canadian YA author who's debut novel, Waiting to Score is finally on the shelf!

Did I mention I happened to be at the front of the line at the signing, and my book was the first one she's ever signed? EVER. I mean, how freakin' cool is that? And even cooler is the fact that I bought two signed copies. One for me, and one for you!

Waiting to Score

Quirky 15-year-old Zack Chase is a smart, talented hockey player who knows how to score on the ice. Hockey's in his blood. Trouble is he's not so sure he wants to follow his late father's footsteps to become a professional hockey player. But, Zack's Mom is determined he'll make it to the pros, no matter what.

When Zack and his Mom move to a new town, incidents on ice and off force Zack to dig deep to find out who he really is--and what he really wants. Is it Jane, the hockey hating Goth girl he's wildly intrigued with? Or an easier, sure thing?

Soon, Zack faces sore losers, drinking problems, and his own screw-ups with girls. Zack discovers the hard way that sometimes secrets have tragic and far-reaching consequences. He ultimately learns that there are some things that can never be undone, no matter how much he may want it.


HOW TO WIN THIS FABULOUS BOOK

Leave us a comment! I'll assign a number to each of you, and then do a drawing on Monday, April 6th around noon.

Want to up your chances of winning? Here's how...

Leave a comment, you get 1 entry. (one comment only, please)
Leave a comment stating you're a present Follower, you will get 2 entries.
Leave a comment stating you're linking to our contest on your blog, you'll get 2 entries. If you tell us you're a follower too, that's 3 entries in total!

CTS Entry: Square

Natural:
There are no squares in nature

Man-made:

Blocks
Dice
Keyboard keys
Baseball diamonds
Air conditioning vents
Coasters
City blocks
Cereal pieces
Window panes
Hopscotch sections
Rubik's cube sections
Tic-tac-toe sections
Stepping stones/pavers
Slices of bread
Cheese slices
Agricultural fields
Ovens
Gemstones
Magnets
Casserole dish
End tables
Quilt blocks
Calendar squares
Sticky notes
Tea bags
Throw pillows
Crackers
Lunch boxes
Belt buckles
Origami paper
Board games (checker board, chess board, etc)
Pot holders
Monitors
Windows
Jewelry boxes
Brownie pieces
Tiles (scrabble, floor/backsplash)
Napkins
Laundry shute/garbage shute door
Cd case
Stamps
Dish cloth
Face cloth
Crosswalks at intersections
Chicklet gum

Synonyms: boxy, equilateral, quadrate, quadratic, right-angled, squarish, four-sided

Describing a shape is best done in as few words as possible. Think of the shape as a camera snap shot--you want to capture the gist of what you mean as soon as possible so you can get on with other related (and more important) detail, and the action happening in the scene

A weak example:

I frowned at the brownies I'd dished up for my company. The squares looked so uninteresting against the shiny white plates.

What's wrong with this example?

It's simple--squares are, well...boring. They can't stand alone as a descriptior for contrast or comparision. More detail is needed to make the description stay with the reader.

A strong example:

The rain pattering the roof woke me from my afternoon nap and I stretched, cat like, wondering what time it was. A glance at the wall clock showed noon had long since passed. I shot up and ran for the front door, praying that I wasn't too late...but I was. There lying on the rain-drenched step was my long-awaited Fed Ex envelope, soggy and limp as a grungy dish rag.

Why does this work?

This one works because shape and texture are both utilized to not only describe the item but to also accurately describe its condition.

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